The Minnesota Wild scored early, and then hung on for a huge 2-1 win over Los Angeles last night at Xcel Energy Center.
The victory moved the Wild ever closer to its first playoff berth since 2008. A win Friday against Edmonton will lock it down.
As for Tuesday night, it was a clutch performance from a team which had lost five straight at home. Here's more, from the experts:
Hockey Wilderness blog, SB Nation: "The game tonight was exactly what Wild fans needed. Not only were scores of fans falling off the deep end into the abyss over the team's performance lately, but the added pressure of not yet qualifying for the playoffs had some fans going absolutely crazy."
Chad Graff, Pioneer Press: "The Wild played their most complete game in some time, beat a playoff team in a playoff environment in a game with major playoff implications ... and gave a raucous crowd something to cheer for "
Tom Powers, Pioneer Press: "They needed that one to forestall utter panic on our humble tundra, and they came through splendidly. It was a physical game, especially for the finesse Wild. "
Dave Campbell, Associated Press: "With their grip starting to slip on a spot in the playoffs, the Minnesota Wild responded with one of their most complete, aggressive performances of the season."
Patrick Reusse, Star Tribune: "When you talk Wild rookies and fantastic futures, (Charlie) Coyle belongs in that conversation as prominently as does (Jonas) Brodin. The big right winger is always making plays, on both ends of the ice."
Michael Russo, Star Tribune: "Wild players aren’t stupid. A loss to the big, bad Kings, a team running hot and starting to resemble the confident squad that cruised to a Hollywood parade last year, would have meant two must-wins this weekend preceded by two long, slow, excruciating off days full of teeth-chattering, anxiety and … negativity."
Mike Doyle, Wild.com:"(Wild coach Mike) Yeo said that he was looking for the Wild to be more difficult to play against, including playing a more physical brand of hockey. The club responded tonight and one player in particular was a wrecking ball. (Devin) Setoguchi did his best (Cal) Clutterbuck impersonation tonight, hitting everything that moved."